Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5456

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING LOCAL REPRESENTATION ON THE CONNECTICUT SITING COUNCIL AND THE LANGUAGE OF PROPERTY OWNER NOTICES FOR CERTAIN FACILITY APPLICATIONS.

Vote Date:

3/22/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/16/2018

File No.:

Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Rep. Craig C. Fishbein, 90th Dist.

Rep. Tom Delnicki, 14th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

There is a lack of municipal and local representation to the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC). Current law requires the CSC to notify local residents of any project applications on abutting property. However, local residents are often unaware or do not understand the technical language used in such notices, or the potential impact of a project. The bill seeks to address these concerns by requiring a municipal representative to be appointed for each application before the CSC and to require proceeding notices to be written in layman's terms.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robin Stein, Chairman, Connecticut Siting Council

Opposes the regulatory requirements imposed by the bill on a narrow and limited “electrical suppliers” directly impacted. As written, this bill only applies to applications submitted by Eversource and UI since the definition of “electric distribution company” exempts members of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative and the Wallingford Electric Division.

This bill proposes to add language that any notice provided to abutting property owners are written in layman's terms. This is not defined.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Donna Hamzy, Advocacy Manager, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities

Local communities “are not included in a meaningful way within the Siting Council process”. Local leaders answer to their local constituents and community, the Siting Council does allow the full participation of these officials to adequately address concerns of their constituents and community.

Lucas and Erin Barlow

Residents did not receive adequate communication of the project and are concerned about their scenic views, health and property values with the new siting of transmission lines in their Bethel neighborhood.

The Environment Committee received an additional eight similar letters supporting the bill urging us to hold private electric companies responsible.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Kathleen M. Shanley, Manager of Transmission Siting, Eversource

Proposed changes are unnecessary and “could create circumstances that undermine a careful orderly process of deliberations, including impartiality, and conflict with current law covering ex parte communications.”

The Environment Committee received an additional similar letter supporting the bill and urging us to not go forth with HB 5456.

Reported by: Steve Smith, Asst. Clerk

Date: 3/26/2018